Charting the next step in its Artificial Intelligence endeavour, Google has acquired two prominent Oxford startups to join the Google DeepMind team meanwhile making a substantial contribution to establish a research partnership with the Computer Science Department and the Engineering Department at Oxford University.

Dark Blue Labs was founded earlier this year by Prof Nando de Freitas, Prof Phil Blunsom, Dr Edward Grefenstette and Dr Karl Moritz Hermann, to understand “deep structured and unstructured representations of data to make intelligent products, including natural language understanding, a reality.” Partnering with Google DeepMind, they will be spearheading efforts to enable machines to better understand what users are saying to them, reports Google.

Vision Factory is the other startup joining the DeepMind team. Founded by Dr Karen Simonyan, Max Jaderberg and Prof Andrew Zisserman, the team works towards improving visual recognition systems using deep learning.

“We are thrilled to welcome these extremely talented machine learning researchers to the Google DeepMind team and are excited about the potential impact of the advances their research will bring,” wrote Demis Hassabis, the co-founder of DeepMind and Vice President of Engineering at Google, in the Google Europe blog announcing the partnership. DeepMind, a British startup that was acquired by Google in January this year, has been working with machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.

“It is a really exciting time for Artificial Intelligence research these days, and progress is being made on many fronts including image recognition and natural language understanding,” said Mr. Hassabis.

The  research partnership with the Computer Science Department and the Engineering Department at Oxford University, will include a program of student internships and a series of joint lectures and workshops to share knowledge and expertise. Three professors of the seven experts hired, will hold joint appointments at Oxford University where they will continue their work.

Read more here.

(Image credit: Vision Factory)

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